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‘Fargo’ Season 5 is percolating, says showrunner and Austinite Noah Hawley

Omar L. Gallaga
Special to the American-Statesman
Noah Hawley, the Austin resident and creator of the Fargo TV series, who has a new thriller, Before the Fall, photographed at the South Congress Hotel on May 6, 2016.

Austin-based filmmaker Noah Hawley, the brain behind FX’s TV adaptation of the film “Fargo,” says another season of the critically acclaimed show is very likely coming. As to when? Well …

“I am not in a place where I’m writing on that yet,” Hawley said in a short, virtual South by Southwest panel broadcast on Thursday. He said he’s working on a few other things but plans to get back to the series after that. “I’m definitely excited to do one,” he said. “On some level, I have to store up 10 hours of what there is to say. I will get to it in the next year or so, I’m sure.”

With that said, Hawley and musician Andrew Bird, who appeared in Season 4 of the series, mostly riffed on how the crime saga is evolving, with the latest season serving as a prequel for the other three. (If you haven’t watched it, just know that there are a lot of family and crime-family connections.)

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Bird, who was filming his portion of the virtual panel in front of an orange grove at his California home, recalled being so nervous about acting for the first time that he prepared his lines for months, only to find himself thrown into a quickly written transition scene that wasn’t in the script.

“I remember asking (Hawley), ‘What makes you think I can do this? I’ve never acted before,’" Bird said. Hawley responded that “Fargo” is often a show about decent people caught up in extraordinary circumstances and that Bird seemed like a decent person to him.

“I hadn’t really given acting a thought before this,” said Bird, who played funeral parlor owner Thurman Smutny on the show. Now, he says, he’d like to keep doing it. “I’m really curious to see what I’m capable of.”

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The 26-minute panel didn’t contain any huge revelations, but “Fargo” fans who don’t read a lot of interviews about the show might be interested to know that the entire genesis of Season 4 was Hawley becoming interested in the backstory of Bokeem Woodbine’s magnetic character Mike Milligan from Season 2. “I kept wondering where he would have come from. He’s an iconoclastic character. Part of my brain was trying to figure out rationally what might have produced a character like that and I ended up with this incongruous 1950s story.”

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